When the Pawn...

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When the Pawn...
Fiona apple when the pawn.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 9, 1999
Recorded1998–1999
Studio
Various
    • Andora Studio
    • Chateau Brion Studio
    • NRG Recording Studios
    • Ocean Way Studio
    • One On One South
    • Presence Studios
    • Woodwinds
Genre
Length42:39
Label
ProducerJon Brion
Fiona Apple chronology
Tidal
(1996)
When the Pawn...
(1999)
Extraordinary Machine
(2005)
Vinyl cover
When The Pawn 2020 Vinyl Cover.png
Singles from When the Pawn...
  1. "Fast as You Can"
    Released: November 20, 1999
  2. "Limp"
    Released: February 2000
  3. "Paper Bag"
    Released: November 21, 2000

When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He'll Win the Whole Thing 'Fore He Enters the Ring There's No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won't Matter, Cuz You'll Know That You're Right, frequently abbreviated to When the Pawn..., is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Fiona Apple.[1] Released by Epic Records in the United States on November 9, 1999, When the Pawn... was wholly written by Apple, with production by Jon Brion.

In 2010, Spin magazine named the album the 106th greatest of the last 25 years,[2] and Slant Magazine named it the 79th best album of the 1990s.[3] The album received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Alternative Album.[4] In 2020, Rolling Stone ranked When the Pawn... at number 108 on its "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list.[5]

Title[edit]

The album's title is a poem Apple wrote in response to unfavorable reactions from readers of an unfavorable Spin magazine cover story about her.[6] Richard Harrington of The Washington Post called it Apple's version of Chumbawamba's "I get knocked down, but I get up again".[6] "It came from being made fun of," she said, "and then, of course, it becomes a thing I'm being made fun of for."[7]

Upon its release, When the Pawn... broke the record for longest album title at 444 characters (previously held by a volume in The Best... Album in the World...Ever!).[8][9] Chumbawamba themselves would later hold the record with 2008's The Boy Bands Have Won, whose full title contains 865 characters, nearly twice as many as When the Pawn...'s. The album was produced and mixed by Jon Brion and co-mixed and engineered by Rich Costey.

The full title is:

When the pawn hits the conflicts he thinks like a king
What he knows throws the blows when he goes to the fight
And he'll win the whole thing 'fore he enters the ring
There's no body to batter when your mind is your might
So when you go solo, you hold your own hand
And remember that depth is the greatest of heights
And if you know where you stand, then you know where to land
And if you fall it won't matter, cuz you'll know that you're right

Release[edit]

The first single, "Fast as You Can", was fairly popular and received moderate radio and video airplay. It reached the top 20 on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and became Apple's first top 40 hit on the UK Singles Chart. The follow-up singles, "Limp" and especially "Paper Bag", which was nominated for a Grammy Award, were less successful. Apple's boyfriend at the time, filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, directed videos for all three singles.[10]

In 2019, Apple collaborated with King Princess on a cover of "I Know". The song was released for Spotify's RISE program on January 25.[11] A reissue by Vinyl Me Please was announced in 2020 featuring a new cover chosen by Fiona herself, marking the album's first ever vinyl pressing.[12]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic79/100[13]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[14]
Chicago Sun-Times[15]
Entertainment WeeklyA[16]
Los Angeles Times[17]
NME5/10[18]
Pitchfork9.4/10[19]
Q[20]
Rolling Stone[21]
Spin8/10[22]
The Village VoiceA−[23]

In comparison to Apple's debut album Tidal, Harrington stated, "When the Pawn is a decidedly more mature work that trades in youthful melodrama for somber ruminations on shattered relationships and romantic obsession".[6] In The New Rolling Stone Album Guide, Jenny Eliscu states that Pawn is "more musically complex and melodically advanced" than the previous album, while focusing on Apple's "sultry voice and moody piano playing".[1] Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone gave the album three-and-a-half out of five stars, calling it "richer, deeper and stronger than Tidal, in every way", with "a far more muscular approach to both the songs and the singing".[21] Entertainment Weekly's David Browne awarded the album an A grade, praising Jon Brion's production as well as Apple's songwriting: "Apple hasn't gained much in psychic confidence following the success of Tidal. On When the Pawn..., Apple presents herself as a mental shambles, and she’s more than happy to tell us about it."[16] Pitchfork originally gave the album a score of eight out of ten, with reviewer Chip Chanko praising Apple's lyrics, writing: "[Apple] seems older. Her voice is full of a heartfelt soul that seems almost timeless. While Billie Holiday would never have considered the possibility of lines like, 'It won't be long till you'll be/ Lying limp in your own hand,' Apple executes them flawlessly with a modern passion.[24] Amy Linden of Vibe wrote: "When the Pawn... is full of images that resonate. Apple's a sad, sultry woman with a sense of who she is—even if that person isn't someone she wants to be. Once again, her pain brings us joy."[25] Piers Martin of NME rated it a 5 out of 10, calling it Apple's "second album of Amos-aping MTV-branded Lilith Fair fodder."[18]

On the U.S. Billboard 200, When the Pawn.. debuted at number 13 with 103,000 copies sold in first week.[26] As of 2005, sales of the album in the United States had exceeded 922,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[27] On March 26, 2020, When the Pawn.. was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[28]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Fiona Apple, except where noted.

No.TitleLength
1."On the Bound"5:22
2."To Your Love"3:40
3."Limp"3:29
4."Love Ridden"3:22
5."Paper Bag"3:39
6."A Mistake"4:56
7."Fast as You Can"4:38
8."The Way Things Are"4:16
9."Get Gone"4:07
10."I Know"4:55
Japanese edition bonus tracks
No.TitleLength
11."Across the Universe" (Lennon–McCartney)5:11
12."Never Is a Promise" (Live)6:12

Personnel[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Jon Brion – producer, mixing, assistant engineer
  • Rich Costey – mixer / engineer
  • Tom Banghart – assistant engineer
  • Rob Brill – assistant engineer
  • Greg Collins – assistant engineer
  • Bryan Jackson – assistant engineer
  • Steve Mixdorf – assistant engineer
  • John Tyree – assistant engineer
  • Eddy Scheyer – mastering
  • Valerie Pack – production coordination
  • Rich Costey – programming
  • John Bainbridge – arranger
  • Ian Sefchick – vinyl mastering (2020)
  • Fiona Apple – design, cover art concept
  • Hooshik– art direction

Charts[edit]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Japan (RIAJ)[37] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[38] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger / 922,000[27]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Eliscu, Jenny (2004). "Fiona Apple". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian D. (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). New York: Fireside. p. 23. ISBN 0-74-320169-8. Archived from the original on 2021-06-24. Retrieved 2020-10-03.
  2. ^ "125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years". Spin. 15 February 2012. Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Best Albums of the '90s". Slant Magazine. February 14, 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-02-18. Retrieved 2011-05-06.
  4. ^ "Fiona Apple". GRAMMY.com. 2018-05-22. Archived from the original on 2020-05-28. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  5. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. September 22, 2020. Archived from the original on October 8, 2020. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c Harrington, Richard (November 28, 1999). "Fiona Apple: The Time Is Ripe". The Washington Post. p. G1. Archived from the original on January 1, 2021. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  7. ^ Sutcliffe, Phil, "Hard Core Pawn", Q, March 2000, pp. 46-48
  8. ^ Cossar, Neil (2010). This Day in Music: An Every Day Record of Musical Feats and Facts: An Every Day Record of Musical Feats and Facts. Omnibus Press. p. 395. ISBN 978-0-857-12362-6.
  9. ^ "12 Guinness World Records That Exist For No Real ReasonWorld's Longest Album Title". Complex. Archived from the original on 2018-06-25. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  10. ^ Sharf, Zack (2017-10-04). "The Complete Paul Thomas Anderson Music Video Collection, From Fiona Apple to Radiohead — Watch". IndieWire. Archived from the original on 2020-06-19. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  11. ^ Lorusso, Marissa (25 January 2019). "King Princess and Fiona Apple Collaborate on New Version of 'I Know'". NPR. Archived from the original on 2019-01-26. Retrieved 2019-01-25.
  12. ^ https://www.instagram.com/p/B_2iKffp8y_/
  13. ^ "Reviews for When The Pawn... by Fiona Apple". Metacritic. Archived from the original on November 7, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  14. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King... – Fiona Apple". AllMusic. Archived from the original on April 4, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  15. ^ Reed, Bobby (November 14, 1999). "Fiona Apple, 'When the Pawn . . .' (Clean Slate/Epic)". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on November 18, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  16. ^ a b Browne, David (November 12, 1999). "When the Pawn..." Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on April 15, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  17. ^ Gardner, Elysa (November 9, 1999). "Assured Apple Challenges Her Audience". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 21, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  18. ^ a b Martin, Piers (March 15, 2000). "Fiona Apple – When The Pawn..." NME. Archived from the original on June 4, 2000. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  19. ^ Berman, Judy (March 24, 2019). "Fiona Apple: When the Pawn..." Pitchfork. Archived from the original on March 24, 2019. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  20. ^ Aizlewood, John (March 2000). "Fiona Apple: When The Pawn Hits The Conflicts..." Q (162): 101. Archived from the original on November 21, 2000. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  21. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (November 25, 1999). "When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King..." Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on April 8, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  22. ^ Weisbard, Eric (December 1999). "Fiona Apple: When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King / What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight..." Spin. 15 (12): 215. Archived from the original on June 24, 2021. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  23. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 7, 2000). "Consumer Guide: Cleanup Time". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  24. ^ Chanko, Chip. "Fiona Apple: When the Pawn..." Pitchfork. Archived from the original on June 11, 2007. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  25. ^ Linden, Amy (December 1999). "Fiona Apple - 'When the Pawn...'". Vibe. 7 (10): 257. ISSN 1070-4701.
  26. ^ "Nickelback Debuts 'Right' on Top". Billboard. 12 October 2005.
  27. ^ a b "Billboard". 8 October 2005 – via Google Books.
  28. ^ "Gold & Platinum - Fiona Apple". riaa.com. RIAA. Archived from the original on 2020-11-25. Retrieved 2020-04-17.
  29. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  30. ^ "Lescharts.com – Fiona Apple – When The Pawn Hits The Conflicts He Thinks Like A King....". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  31. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Fiona Apple – When The Pawn Hits The Conflicts He Thinks Like A King...." (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  32. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography Fiona Apple". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  33. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  34. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  35. ^ "Fiona Apple Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  36. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 2000". Billboard. 2 January 2013. Archived from the original on May 26, 2018. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  37. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Fiona Apple – When the pawn" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved October 20, 2019. Select 2007年1月 on the drop-down menu
  38. ^ "American album certifications – Fiona Apple – When the Pawn". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 29, 2020.

External links[edit]